From Chablis Gets the Côte de Beaune Treatment from Mother Nature (Jul 2016) by Stephen Tanzer
Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat
Despite the hailstorm and significant rainfall in the early morning hours of September 1, the grapes were very healthy and ripe in 2015–12% potential alcohol for the village wines and 12.2% to 12.5% for the crus–said Sébastien Dauvissat, who started picking on the 3rd and finished on the 9th. “Twelve percent potential alcohol in our grapes is exceptional,” he told me, adding that he did not chaptalize or acidify the ’15s and that the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations were all finished by the end of December.
Two thousand fourteen was a superb year at this estate, with modest crop levels by Chablis standards. In fact, Dauvissat described his average yield of 45 hectoliters per hectare as “more like the Côte d’Or.” Dauvissat’s 2014 crus had not yet been bottled in early June but I have broken my rule and published updated notes on these wines.
2015 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis St. Pierre
(from an early bottling): Lemon and a strong anise quality on the nose and palate. In a cool style, showing a youthfully bitter edge and slightly tart lemony acidity. I find this uncompromising wine a bit lacking in ripeness. In fact, these vines were the most affected by hail in 2015, and were picked first after the rain.
87 Drinking Window: 2017 – 2021
2015 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons 1er Cru
Vibrant, nuanced nose combines lemon, grapefruit, licorice, ginger and quinine. Fresh, tight and rather classic, with lovely acidity giving excellent cut to the middle palate and extending the aftertaste.
2015 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Montmains 1er Cru
Sexy aromas of grapefruit and gingery spices. At once ripe and energetic, showing surprising texture and a sweet, almost creamy character. This distinctly high-toned wine finishes with a mineral edge and a hint of olive tapenade but should nonetheless give early pleasure.
2015 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Séchet 1er Cru
(sample tasted from a barrel): Nose dominated by menthol and spicy oak. Creamy on entry, then quite dry and austere in the middle, with peppermint, menthol and mineral flavors complemented by spicy oak. Still, this very broad wine should give relatively early pleasure, thanks mostly to the texture of the vintage. This wine is done entirely in small barrels but only one was new in 2015.
2015 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons Vieilles Vignes 1er Cru
(this wine began in small barrels and will be racked into cuve in September and bottled next May): Very pale yellow. Sappy aromas of lemon, minerals and oak. Densely packed, dry and classic; distinctly more minerally than the regular Vaillons, conveying a menthol note and a strong impression of soil. Finishes with excellent lemony length.
2015 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru
Piquant aromas of citrus fruits, white flowers and minerals. Dense, sappy and quite concentrated, showing terrific inner-mouth lift to its flavors of anise, flowers and crushed rock. Finishes with superb lift and length. Should make a lovely bottle.
2014 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons 1er Cru
(bottled in May of 2016): Lively aromas of lemon, peppermint and powdered stone. Tactile, penetrating and classic, displaying excellent citrussy energy to its crushed rock flavors. The long finish conveys a dusty impression of extract. This is seriously good but needs time.
90+ Drinking Window: 2020 – 2027
2014 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Montmains 1er Cru
(bottled in May): Very pale yellow. Reticent nose hints at anise and fresh herbs. Juicy but youthfully tight, showing excellent definition and cut to its bracing flavors of underripe pineapple and lemon. This almost metallic wine will need even longer bottle aging than the Vaillons. Finishes with a balsamic quality and a whiff of green olive.
90+ Drinking Window: 2021 – 2029
2014 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Séchet 1er Cru
(bottled in May): Pure, subdued nose dominated by brisk citrus fruits. Even more penetrating than the Montmains, displaying outstanding energy and lift to its citrus zest and crushed rock flavors. Less enveloping in the early going than the Montmains but this youthfully linear premier cru is a step up in its citric intensity. A real essence of premier cru Chablis.
91+ Drinking Window: 2022 – 2030
2014 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Vaillons Vieilles Vignes 1er Cru
(still in cuve and scheduled for bottling before the 2016 harvest): Lemon and pineapple fruit aromas are complicated by a yeasty baked-bread quality and a hint of reduction. Sweeter and more pliant than the foregoing premier crus, offering a captivating combination of citrus zest, leesy complexity and salty minerality. This very rich, dense Chablis shows noteworthy finesse and finishes with a subtle balsamic quality.
2014 Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru
(in cuve): Very pale color. Discreet, high-pitched aromas of lemon zest, wet stone and lavender. Delivers the energy and definition of the vintage in spades, conveying superb density to its citrus fruit, floral and mineral flavors. Most impressive today on the very long, mineral-driven aftertaste, which perfumes the mouth with white flowers. With its penetrating vinosity, this wine will need patience.